US Air Force makes history with first woman top enlisted leader

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Chief Master Sgt JoAnne S Bass | Photo: US Air Force
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Making history for the second time this month, the Air Force on Friday became the first military service to pick a woman as its top enlisted leader.

The selection of Chief Master Sgt JoAnne S Bass as chief master sergeant of the Air Force comes less than two weeks after the Senate confirmed Gen Charles Q Brown to be the next Air Force chief of staff. Brown, who will take over in August, will be the first African American to lead a US military service.

The military has historically promoted relatively few women to senior positions.

None has ever served as a service chief or served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In her new role, Bass will be the senior enlisted adviser to Brown and to Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett on matters relating to the welfare and use of the service's enlisted airmen.

Bass, whose hometown is Mililani, Hawaii, has been serving as Command Chief Master Sergeant for the 2nd Air Force at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. She joined the Air Force in 1993.

"I'm honoured and humbled to be selected as the 19th chief master sergeant of the Air Force, and follow in the footsteps of some of the best leaders our Air Force has ever known," Bass was quoted by the Air Force as saying.

"The history of the moment isn't lost on me; I'm just ready to get after it. And I'm extremely grateful for and proud of my family and friends who helped me along the way," she also said.

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